'BOREALIS RISING' - A Subnautica Story V2.0.

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  • TenebrousNovaTenebrousNova England Join Date: 2015-12-23 Member: 210206Members Posts: 640 Advanced user
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,060 Advanced user
    edited August 12
    One final detail requires my immediate attention.

    As far as we can determine, Damocles won't be crumbling apart any time in the foreseeable future. The detonation shockwave propagated poorly in the planet's thin atmosphere, barely ruffling its dusty surface. Cutty Sark has completed its fourth and final orbit, and a fresh complement of recon probes have been deployed. Initial data indicates a successful EMP strike, although I won't be breaking out the bubbly just yet. There's still a cache of those wee horrors inside the Precursor containment facility, and I aim to put an end to them. That's one less thing to lose sleep over, even though those nanites are safely confined to a theoretically secure container.

    It's the 'theoretically secure' part that concerns me. I believe it's only a matter of time before someone conjures a way to crack open that Pandora's Box, and we're back to square one. I'd rather nip this situation in the bud.

    Like most bright ideas, inspiration came from a totally unexpected direction. I haven't spoken to Héloise for the best part of a fortnight, and she might have some choice words to say about that. Given her... delicate condition, it comes as no real surprise that a wee tinge of emotional colour has crept into some of our conversations. Nowadays, she has a fair temper about her, and that's something best addressed with frequent back-rubs, chocolate éclairs and a soothing tone of voice.

    However, I digress.

    As I mulled over an ever-increasing probability of Héloise decapitating me with her Guardian's Knot, my mind wandered back to an unfortunate incident aboard Aurora. Only three weeks out from Gateway Station, a newly-wed couple ran into a spot of bother. Harsh words were exchanged, certain persons were accused of monkey-shines with another monkey's monkey... You get the basic picture. Anyway, at a certain point in this howling mess, someone's PDA ended up in a microwave oven.

    One thousand Watts and one extremely messy punch-up later, there wasn't much point in retrieving their semi-precious wedding memories. Apparently, the honeymoon footage also included rather more participants than the other partner considered appropriate at the time.

    I reckon five kilowatts should do the job quite nicely. Those display cases are completely transparent to our scanner beams, so it's a safe bet that microwave radiation will pass through this material just as easily. All I need now is a couple of minutes and a Fabricator terminal.

    Disco Volante's headlights threw a shimmering silver tapestry upon the walls of the containment facility's moon pool. Barely audible over the gently lapping water below, I could hear the steady tic-tic-tic of Precursor drones scurrying to and fro in the central atrium. The maser cannon felt bulky and awkward in my hands, since most of its fifty-kilo mass is centred on a large shielded magnetron and a pair of ion power cells sitting atop a rudimentary pistol grip. Its muzzle is a basic assembly of three concentric aluminium tubes acting as waveguides. It's not the most elegant design I've ever concocted, although there's little doubt that it will function precisely as intended.

    If not, there's always Plan B... One of Doc Zelenka's 'fun-sized' boxes of boom. Yield: 0.001 kilotons.
    Normally used as a first stage fusion initiator in megaton-yield thermonuclear devices.

    She calls them 'kittens'.

    I depressed the weapon's firing stud. A deep, booming hum filled the echoing space around me. I swept its beam over the case methodically, top to bottom, then side to side. The hazy grey-green film in the sealed chamber sparked and flared like a bonsai fireworks display.


    The ultimate irony of Ultimate Weapons: They are invariably the last thing that a civilization creates.
    Post edited by Bugzapper on
    0x6A7232TenebrousNova
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,060 Advanced user
    edited July 20
    Another milestone has passed. Borealis is ready to leave her construction gantry.

    I conjure this is the most appropriate time to christen the hull, officially marking her first day in what I trust will be a long and highly distinguished career. The Belters are in particularly high spirits, since this ceremony also marks their first day aboard Borealis. An actual step taken on their long journey home. Suffice it to say, every detail of this momentous occasion has been meticulously planned; a dazzling spectacle that has been months in the making. As you'd rightly expect, these proceedings will include stirring music, rousing speeches and all manner of multicultural pomp and circumstance, well-lubricated with insane quantities of exotic foods and alcohol.

    It's traditional.

    "Sir, you're humming again." JUNO murmured confidentially. "Naturally, I'm well aware that this charming mannerism of yours generally indicates either good humour, intense concentration or precedes the evolution of an unpleasant situation... Is there a problem, Sir? Just checking."

    I grinned. She knows me far too well.

    "Nothing's gone awry, Lass." I chuckled. "This is like Christmas for me. I'm living in the moment."

    "I'm extremely relieved to hear that, Sir." JUNO replied. "It's time."

    I activated the topside PA system. The assembled crowd turned their faces expectantly in response.

    "Ladies, Gentlemen and esteemed guests. This is Borealis launch control. All systems are now go for launch. Please direct your attention to the area outlined by marker buoys at the western end of the island. Borealis will commence surfacing in 60 seconds. Thank you."

    "Right we are, then. All stations, stand to and confirm your readiness." I announced briskly.

    DIGBY: "Structural integrity is go."

    IANTO: "Buoyancy control is go."

    JUNO: "Mooring control is go."

    "The vessel now stands ready in all respects, Sir. We are clear to proceed." JUNO reported.

    "Thank you, Commander. Execute launch sequence."

    Only 10 metres of water separates Borealis from her true element. The intervening air is merely a brief inconvenience to be traversed at high speed. Rising at one metre per second, the ship's conn module broke surface in a dazzling explosion of spray, fittingly adorned with an auspicious rainbow. Above us, the Belters raised a thunderous cheer, spontaneously breaking into a lusty chorus of 'Drunken Spacer'. I had intended to broadcast something traditional and highly dignified over the PA, although the Belters neatly took over at the crucial moment. A typically irreverent Belter response to ostentatious displays of Flatlander pomposity. Can't say as I'm entirely unhappy about it, either.

    When all is said and done, that rough and ready shanty of theirs suits the occasion perfectly.

    What shall we do with the drunken Spacer?
    What shall we do with the drunken Spacer?
    What shall we do with the drunken Spacer, ear-ly in the morning?
    Kick her out the airlock 'til she's sober
    Kick her out the airlock 'til she's sober
    Kick her out the airlock 'til she's sober, ear-ly in the morning!

    Hoo-rah and up She rises!
    Hoo-rah and up She rises!
    Helm Horrors, sirens blaring, ear-ly in the morning!

    What can I say? It's traditional.
    0x6A7232TenebrousNova
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,060 Advanced user
    edited August 5
    "Well, that's our bit over and done with." I said cheerfully. "It's about time we headed topside."

    The crowd had gravitated toward the island's west end during the launch, leaving us to saunter the full length of the landing platform without anyone noticing our seemingly inexplicable departure.

    Very well, we'll soon fix that.

    "Smartly now. Enable remote command on all drone units. That should get their attention."

    We halted in line-abreast formation about 150 metres from the crowd. The island's entire robotic workforce emerged from their underground hangars and storage bays, forming up quietly behind us.
    Well, at least as quietly as twenty Ripleys and over a hundred smaller mechs could manage.

    "Piper at the ready, front and centre."

    "Aye, Sir." DIGBY replied briskly, doubling over to his starting position.

    "We'll kick off with something classical, and see what happens."

    Iron-grey cumulus clouds scudded across the sky, swift heralds of an oncoming storm. Our ARGUS satellite array has been tracking its approach since dawn, and it looks like the main squall line will pass well to the south of Skull Island. Since this storm doesn't pose any direct threat to today's festivities, I've decided to use it as an unplanned special effect in our own modest party-piece.

    DIGBY signalled his readiness, having successfully wrestled his tartan Kraken into submission. JUNO, IANTO and I deftly swung our syntars into position, and we're feeling 500 per cent cooler than ZZ Top. Just a few seconds more... Distant lightning scorched a jagged slash across the sky. Even though I have the storm front's range pegged down to the last centimetre, I began the traditional lightning chant anyway. One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand...

    Uh-oh. Curious faces are starting to turn in our direction, and unless I'm sorely mistaken, there's a definite tinge of alarm creeping into their voices. It's now or never.

    Showtime.


    DIGBY led us in with a blisteringly fast riff on the pipes, all three syntars picking up the beat. Under full telepresence control, our army of walker mechs makes a devilishly effective percussion section.

    THUNDER!

    JUNO appears to be channelling Chrissy Amphlett, Suzi Quatro and Janis Joplin simultaneously, and man, she's really belting those lyrics out. Pure magic. Call it cybernetic trickery if you want, but I know full well there's a hefty chunk of JUNO's heart and soul in that astonishingly powerful vocal mix. IANTO and DIGBY are playing a storm, and our audience is absolutely lapping it up.

    Confession time: When we first started planning this tasteful musical interlude, IANTO tactfully suggested that flame-throwing syntars might be a bit too 'over the top' for a ship's christening. The spectators apparently think otherwise, roaring their approval as we sprayed massive arcs of flame into the air.

    Sometimes, you just have to go a wee bit crazy to get the right reaction from the punters.

    Time for the Walkers to strut their stuff. Eight fast beats after Thunderstruck, we launched straight into Atomic Dog, dropping some truly righteous funk into the mix. The worker mechs slinked, spun and slid their way down the landing field, laying it all down for the folks at home. A squadron of recon drones orbited high overhead, beaming their AV feeds directly to the colonists' PDAs.

    Believe me, you haven't lived until you've seen a 20-tonne Ripley bust a move.

    Brutal.
    Post edited by Bugzapper on
    Chris_the_mage0x6A7232Q_bert
  • SCUBA_PROSCUBA_PRO Join Date: 2018-08-05 Member: 242683Members Posts: 2 Fully active user
  • SCUBA_PROSCUBA_PRO Join Date: 2018-08-05 Member: 242683Members Posts: 2 Fully active user
  • Q_bertQ_bert inactivelavart Join Date: 2018-05-08 Member: 240607Members Posts: 138 Advanced user
    This story and its prequel are some of the best stories I’ve ever read. Seriously.
    Don’t steal my plants.
    0x6A7232
  • Alrekr_IronhandAlrekr_Ironhand New Hampshire, US Join Date: 2016-03-22 Member: 214677Members Posts: 106 Advanced user
    @Bugzapper, not to nitpick or anything, but ... I've just done a catch-up after a couple of completely insane months at work (let's just say corporate merger), and I couldn't help noticing that a couple of the last three or four updates had a few discrepancies of tense and voice.

    For example:
    I swept its beam over the case methodically, top to bottom, then side to side. The hazy grey-green film in the sealed chamber suddenly sparks and flares like a bonsai fireworks display.
    Shouldn't that be 'sparked and flared'?
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,060 Advanced user
    @Bugzapper, not to nitpick or anything, but ... I've just done a catch-up after a couple of completely insane months at work (let's just say corporate merger), and I couldn't help noticing that a couple of the last three or four updates had a few discrepancies of tense and voice.

    For example:
    I swept its beam over the case methodically, top to bottom, then side to side. The hazy grey-green film in the sealed chamber suddenly sparks and flares like a bonsai fireworks display.
    Shouldn't that be 'sparked and flared'?

    Fixed. (Good thing I'm not writing in the style of ee cummings, eh?)

    Ah, the manifold joys of running a live-to-air serial. ;)
    0x6A7232
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,060 Advanced user
    Kids. They really do say the damnedest things.

    In recognition of their immense contribution to the construction effort, I let the colonists decide who would christen Borealis. After all, it's going to be as much their home as ours for the next nine or so months, and they have every right to feel justly proud of this achievement. I don't begrudge them one iota. However... One of those particularly awkward moments has occurred, and judging by the horrified gasps that rose from the colonists, this situation may require slightly more effort than a good-natured shrug and an embarrassed smile. Eight-year olds demand to know the absolute truth.

    Our wee Noriko Mori has just asked me if I'm really a ghost, because her brother Kenzo told her so. According to him, I'm actually a robot-ghost or a ghost-robot, which makes me an entirely different class of supernatural creature, apparently. Yūrei, or quite possibly Obakemono, depending on how one might regard my overall behaviour. I winced inwardly, painfully aware that some of my earlier actions may have veered just a smidgen over the 'Vengeful Spirit' side of life's balance sheet.

    I knelt slowly, bringing my face level with hers. To Noriko's credit, her wide-eyed stare never faltered.
    After muting the PA function on our PDAs, I took a deep breath and carefully began my explanation. I'm guessing that this sort of thing doesn't happen at your average ship's christening.

    "I'm not really a ghost, Noriko." I murmured. "I'm just a man who has lived a very long time. One day, my old body simply stopped working. I died. My friends JUNO, IANTO and DIGBY missed me so much that they took a copy of all my thoughts, and made a new body for my thoughts to live inside."

    Noriko's face lit up with excitement. "Like Tetsuwan Atomu? - He's my favourite robot! Kawaii!"

    "Yes, exactly like Tetsuwan Atomu, except that I can't fly without a spaceship." I grinned impishly, dropping to a whisper. "And I don't have a machinegun in my bum, either. That would be so cool!"

    Noriko giggled, clapping her hands gleefully. "Why don't you make one, Captain-san? You could fight those nasty Reapers while you're swimming away from them!"

    How about... No? Astro Boy definitely wins this round.

    Now that Noriko and I have an understanding of sorts, we can proceed with the business at hand.

    "Do you know what's so special about today, Noriko?"

    "It's my Life Day today, Captain-san! Oh, and that big ship came up from the water, didn't it?"

    "Well, that makes today even more special, doesn't it? Because it's your Life Day, you've been chosen to give our new ship her name... Don't worry, I've put all the words you'll need to say into your PDA. After that, you'll get to smash a bottle on the ship's front end. It's a very important job."

    Noriko gazed critically at the immense bulk of Borealis, two hundred metres distant.

    "I-I can't throw it that far, Captain-san." She admitted glumly. "Can you get me closer to the ship?"

    I smiled broadly. "I've got something here to help you. Have you ever seen one of these before?"

    "I think so. On the island, grown-ups use those to pick up the crawly things and throw them into the sea, but they always come back. Do you want me to throw the bottle with that gun, Captain-san?"

    "Yes, but you'll have to be very careful when the gun is holding the bottle. Don't point the gun at anything but the ship. Do you think you can do this, Noriko? Don't be ashamed to ask me for help."

    With those fateful last words, Noriko's wavering expression took on a grimly determined set that would have swelled a samurai's heart. Challenge accepted.

    All perfectly safe, of course. I'm in complete control of the propulsion cannon's systems.

    "On behalf of all here who made her, I name this ship Borealis. Bless and protect all who sail in her."

    Bullseye.


    Au revoir, Moët et Chandon 2165. Bonjour, Borealis!
    0x6A7232Q_bert
  • Q_bertQ_bert inactivelavart Join Date: 2018-05-08 Member: 240607Members Posts: 138 Advanced user
    Just a quick question, how exactly do the cave crawlers get onto the island? They can only jump a few meters, and the island is about 200 meters off the seabed, with nothing attaching it to the ground. Do reefbacks go to the bottom, pick up a ton of them, and deliver them topside or do they use magical space powers to manipulate gravity in their sole mission to annoy everyone?
    Don’t steal my plants.
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,060 Advanced user
    Q_bert wrote: »
    Just a quick question, how exactly do the cave crawlers get onto the island? They can only jump a few meters, and the island is about 200 meters off the seabed, with nothing attaching it to the ground. Do reefbacks go to the bottom, pick up a ton of them, and deliver them topside or do they use magical space powers to manipulate gravity in their sole mission to annoy everyone?

    Three possible explanations... 1. Cave Crawlers have a free-swimming larval stage. They find their way to the floating islands and use them for shelter until they metamorphose into their land-dwelling form. 2. The Precursor portals are still operating, since Selkirk hasn't found it necessary to shut them down. 3. Cave Crawlers are at least as organized as ants, and may have equally disproportionate physical strength relative to their size. They could easily form living chains and ascend to the surface, although the numbers required for this feat would be staggering. My least favourite hypothesis, incidentally. :)
    Q_bertMaalteromm0x6A7232
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,060 Advanced user
    In the spirit of fair play, various rites and rituals took place after the official christening of Borealis. Some were cultural in nature, others had their basis in ancient faiths. A fairly representative sample of Belter belief systems, all things considered. Shinto adherents, Daoists, Baha'i, Islamic Reformation, Hindus, Santería and Christians added their own unique flavours to the proceedings. Even the colony's lone Pastafarian bestowed his blessing upon Borealis by devoutly scattering cooked spaghetti over the waves, a gesture calculated to win the favour of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. If the FSM chose to manifest as an unusually large shoal of hungry Peepers, I'd have to say that this invocation to the Divine was the only ceremony that elicited any observable response.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not judging anyone here. The crew and I have done our level best to ensure that Borealis will function flawlessly for the full duration of the voyage, although I'm not averse to receiving aid from any supernatural entities that might be looking our way when events turn sour. For all I know, we may well have been Touched By His Noodly Appendage today.

    By contrast, the remaining handful of speeches have been mercifully short and sweet. Halfway through Captain Halvorsen's glowing commendation of our efforts, his PDA beeped discreetly. He glanced at the screen briefly, skimming over the message without skipping a beat. Obviously good news, if that faint smile is anything to go by. It sounds like he's about to wrap things up. I conjure we'll know soon enough.

    "On behalf of everyone aboard the Carl Sagan, I'd like to thank you personally for the hospitality you've extended to my officers and crew. Out on the frontier, shore leave usually means trading the same old ceiling above your bunk for the unfamiliar ceiling of some hab dome dirt-side. The sort of place where souvenir coffee mugs and printed sweatshirts double up as native handcrafts and major tourist attractions..."

    "Yeah, like Eros Station!" one wag yelled from the crowd.

    Halvorsen grinned. "Exactly. Guess I wasn't the only one who fell for that clever bit of false advertising." After giving the audience a moment to settle down, Halvorsen continued. "Manannán is the next best thing to Paradise, at least as far as Carl Sagan's crew is concerned. Productivity has increased dramatically since shore leave became available, and shipboard morale has remained consistently high. From a mission commander's perspective, this is worth more than landing a fat bonus at mission's end. Once again, thank you all." He paused briefly, waiting for the applause to die down. "One more thing. Captain Selkirk and Commander JUNO, please step forward."

    JUNO and I exchanged puzzled glances.

    Halvorsen's expression became uncharacteristically solemn. He consulted his PDA with an almost judicial air, poring intently over its display, nodding in silent agreement with what he read there.

    "Hmm. This all appears to be in order. I concur with the decision." Halvorsen touched the PDA's Send tab with a flourish, then turned to us, smiling broadly. "Captain Selkirk, the ICC review panel has evaluated your flight qualification assessment, along with observations provided by your instructor, Commander JUNO. Given that yours is a highly unusual situation, it was originally thought that certain concessions would be required. However, your execution of the qualification flight was unanimously judged to be faultless, as was Commander JUNO's performance as instructor and examiner. Commander JUNO's flight rating has also been reinstated. Congratulations, Captain."
    0x6A7232Q_bertQuantum_Anomaly
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